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It was Constance Hill who after watching the excruciating suffering of people in his community following the devastating famine lamented, “If nature and circumstances could allow people to suffer like this, then what remains of man to live for, to hope for or to smile even for one moment?”

It was Constance Hill who after watching the excruciating suffering of people in his community following the devastating famine lamented, “If nature and circumstances could allow people to suffer like this, then what remains of man to live for, to hope for or to smile even for one moment?”


Fortunately, that suffering was caused by the celestial circumstances. But what of when people living among the people collectively as a group and as individuals take deliberate action to ensure that their fellow men are subjected to unrelenting suffering while they smile to the bank at the expense of their fellow men.
Last year, before the Christmas, what started as scattered incidents of fuel scarcity with a hope to end before the Christmas snow balled into national crisis which dub tailed into national calamity of a kind. At the beginning of the fuel scarcity, several NNPC and Government officials gave all types of reasons for the scarcity. They promised that it would be over.
Unfortunately, the nation was virtually brought to its knees during the Christmas as it was celebrated without the availability of petrol known as PMS. Suddenly, what began as an isolated long vehicle queue at some filling stations in Abuja and Lagos quickly spread throughout the nation with some filling stations selling the product at two hundred Naira per litre in place of one hundred and forty-five Naira per litre.  Within the confusion, the usual blame-game and buck-passing which has become a function of the present administration took the centre stage.
Although to all intense and purpose, and in consideration of all the available facts, the cause of the protracted scarcity rested squarely on the clandestine activities of both the Independent and major marketers. Although these two bodies over-stretched themselves in denying their roles with several evidences and incontrovertible facts were too overwhelming to sentence these two in addition to several individuals who resorted to embark on black market business. While these outright condemnable economic criminality and sabotage persisted, the people continued to suffer, suffer and suffer.
Greedy transporters like commercial vehicles quickly increased transport fare out of the reach of the average road users.
Unfortunately, since two or three weeks now, the price of the petroleum product has been reduced to the normal one hundred and forty-five Naira, per litre. Sadly enough, transporters in Imo Sate, particularly those in Owerri, the State capital have continued the old transport fare which they imposed since before Christmas.
Why, why and why? Reports from other neighbouring States of Rivers, Abia, Anambra and Enugu confirm that transport fares have normalized in the light of the availability of PMS, returning to approved price of one hundred and forty-five Naira per litre. Why is it that every time Imo is very different in public behavioural pattern becoming the only State that does not conform to social norms and conducts?
Today, fares from Owerri to Mbaise, Orlu, Mbieri, Aba and to other adjoining towns and cities have remained what they were where there was scarcity. Why, why and why? Does it mean that we have more greedy commercial entrepreneurs than other States and cities, why why and why? Why are people so callous, taking pleasure in seeing people suffer and suffer while they smile to the bank?
Owing to the stubbornness and obduracy of many commercial transporters in the State, the Government must react immediately to enforce the reduction of fares on our roads. It is painful that people take delights in seeing people suffer to the grave while they continue to enjoy and be superfluously happy.
According to Christopher Wash, “Those who adventurely punish the collective body of the citizenry must bear in mind that whatever pains they inflict on their fellow citizens must be repaid in return.”
This is a challenge for the government. And people on their part must organize their own action of rejecting these criminal transport fares as the only way to force these modern Shylocks to see reasons. Will they?
In fact, the government should not allow any section of the society to hold the entire society to ransom or to be whims and caprices of vicious and heartless individuals. Government exists to protect its citizens against all manners of cheat, exploitation, deceit and other acts of criminality. Time is now for government to step in and save the citizens from these preventable anti-social behaviours.

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